Posts Tagged With: Finland

This or That: Blue skies or grey?

One of the few things that gets me through the winters here is the prospect of Finnish Summer:  two to three months of bright blue skies and damn near perfect temperatures.  But this summer has convinced me that I could never live in Seattle.  It’s mid-July, and I think I can count the number of good days we’ve had on my hands – and I missed half of them while in Croatia.  It’s been grey and rainy and cool.  I don’t think we’ve even made it to 70°F where I live (except for those days I missed).  Even with the Croatian break, and the upcoming trip to Barcelona, I’m dying a slow death here.  I’m done with grey!!

But I know some people love this kind of weather.  Some people don’t care for blue skies.  Are you one of them?

Let me know in the comments below, and you’ll be entered to win some poppyseed soap made by yours truly! (Scent TBD – I have to see what scents I have available.) I made poppyseed soap as wedding favors when we got married, and I’ve had quite a few requests for more from family and friends since then. Time to make a new batch!

Photo by Nicki Thatcher, http://www.capturedbynicki.com

Everyone who comments on This or That Thursday in the month of July will be registered to win homemade poppyseed soap. Winner will be announced in August.

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Categories: This or That? | Tags: , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Lapland, Part 3 (of 3)

On our last night in Lapland, we splurged and stayed in one of the glass igloos at the Arctic Snow Hotel. You can spend the night in the snow hotel itself, which stays at a constant temperature of about 30°F.  The glass igloo, on the other hand, was nice and warm, especially during the day when the sun turned it into a greenhouse! Beware, though:  the bathrooms are freezing at night! Even so, the igloos were absolutely lovely.

Interior, glass igloo, Arctic Snow Hotel

They are fairly new, built last fall and opened to guests in December. The showers are amazing, with fabulous water pressure and optional rainfall shower head. The igloos are equipped with an aurora alarm that buzzes when the northern lights make an appearance, so you can fall asleep and not have to worry about missing them. And since the igloos have adjustable beds, there’s no need to put your coat and boots on if you don’t want to, just crank the bed up and enjoy the show!

Northern Lights, seen from glass igloo

I do have one complaint, and you might be able to tell what it may be in the photo above. It seems the people staying in the other igloos didn’t know that in order to see the stars and the northern lights better, it’s best to minimize your own light pollution. In other words, turn your flipping lights off, dumbasses! I left a comment card with the hotel saying they should “suggest guests turn lights off after 10pm unless absolutely necessary.”

Glass igloos, lights ablaze

Another very minor thing I found funny – the bathrooms have frosted glass, for privacy while you do your business, which is appreciated (although, the ceiling is open to the room, so you had better be comfortable enough with your traveling companion if you’re going to do anything particularly noisy or smelly!). However, just along the edge of the bathroom there was a slight gap, so that this was my view as I got out of the shower, naked.

IMAG0409

(Made me wonder if others could see in!)

 

In addition to the glass igloos, there’s the snow hotel itself. It’s built new each year, so the rooms look different year to year. You can visit the snow hotel easily from Rovaniemi (it’s about half an hour away by car, and many of the tour companies offer this tour), and of course it’s tourable if you’re staying on site. The intricate designs are spectacular!

Room, Arctic Snow Hotel

Room, Arctic Snow Hotel

IRoom, Arctic Snow Hotel

There’s also a super friendly reindeer on site:

Reindeer

Since Baby J was sick, we opted to have dinner in the lodge (possibly our best meal on our entire trip), but they also have a restaurant in the snow hotel, along with an ice bar. The ice bar doesn’t open until 10pm, though – we would have had a drink there if there had been a bartender on site in the afternoon.

Ice restaurant, Arctic Snow Hotel

Ice restaurant, Arctic Snow Hotel

Ice Bar, Arctic Snow Hotel

Ice Bar, Arctic Snow Hotel

It’s pricey, but certainly a once in a lifetime experience.  We saw a shooting star, a couple of satellites, and so many stars.  And, of course, if you get to see the northern lights, it’s even better!

Night sky

Night sky

IMG_2873

Check out Part 1 and Part 2 of our trip for more photos!

Categories: Finland, Travels | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

Lapland, Part 2 (of 3)

Our second day in Lapland, we traveled about an hour southwest to the Ranua Zoo. A lot of the animals were sleeping, hiding, or hibernating, but we saw a lot of owls, and the polar bears were great! They seemed to think we had brought them some food in the form of a baby.

Polar bear

Fee Fi Fo Fum

Polar bear

I smell a little baby, Yum!

Polar bear

Did you bring me lunch?

"Did someone say lunch?" "They're not sharing."

“Did someone say lunch?”
“They’re not sharing.”

"Bastards." *sniff*

“Bastards.”
*sniff*

It was neat seeing polar bears in something close to their natural habitat:

Polar bears walking in the snow

On day 3, we went to a husky park and went dogsledding. We got a brief lesson in driving, including the suggestion that if the sled tips over, to hold onto it, because the dogs will keep going and leave you behind. Stephen drove while I held on to Baby J for dear life – and if the sled had tipped over, I would rather walk than be dragged along by the dogs, TYVM.

While on the trail, our guide stopped to let everyone change drivers (we opted not to), and he pointed up. “Look.”

This is the one photo I didn’t get that I so wish I had. We looked up and saw a crescent sun. Yes, a crescent sun, because where we were, right at the Arctic Circle in Finland, we had an 85-90% solar eclipse happening. It was just cloudy enough that you could look directly at it and see it without, you know, burning your retinas.  It. Was. Awesome.

Meanwhile, Baby J fell asleep on the sled.

On Day 4, we went out to Santa Claus Village – Home of the REAL Santa Claus! 😉 We visited with Santa for a bit, and Baby J was fascinated.

IMG_0231

I sent out a few postcards to friends’ kids, letting them know I had met with Santa and he said to tell them hi. We had intended on going on a reindeer ride, but Baby J was sick, so we opted out.

Side note:  If you have kids that you’re trying to break of the pacifier addiction, I thought this was a really neat idea. Have them send the pacifier to the baby elves at Santa’s Village!

Bin of Pacifiers with note

We may not have gotten to take a reindeer ride, but that night there was a reindeer race in Rovaniemi! We found a spot to watch from, and I got the camera ready. The first race happened so fast I literally missed it – man those suckers can move!! Was able to catch the second race, though:

Stay tuned for Part 3 of our trip, with photos from the Snow Hotel and more Northern Lights!

Read Part 1 and see my pictures of the Northern Lights!

Categories: Finland, Travels | Tags: , , | 1 Comment

Visiting Lapland – Part 1 (of 3)

Lapland, home of Santa and reindeer and the northern lights. And after three years of living in Finland, we finally made it!

We left home on March 17 and took the overnight train to Rovaniemi. Incidentally, the 17th was the night the northern lights went crazy! My neighbors took photos from our backyard, they were even seen as far south as Helsinki! And I was stuck on a train. *eye roll*

The train ride was nice, the beds were actually pretty comfy. The cabin was tiny, of course, but what do you expect? We had a private bathroom with a shower, but there wasn’t any hot water, at least on our trip north. The train had a car carrier, so we were able to take our car with us. Load it up, sleep the night away, then drive the car off the train in the morning. It’s a pretty nice setup!

Sleeping cabin on train

Our cabin on the train – Stephen’s leg is propped against the left wall (to give you an idea about the size).

We arrived in Rovaniemi around 11am the next day, too early to check into our hotel. So we went for lunch, then checked out the Arktikum museum. The museum was…boring. Or I was tired. One of the two. Actually, the museum had some neat exhibits, and it would be a lot of fun with a kid around 7 years old. Note to self – take Baby J back when he’s older!

Ceiling of Arktikum Museum

The ceiling of the Arktikum museum

I braved the cold that first night and went out to a spot I had read about online, on the river by the museum. I set up the camera on the tripod and spent some time fiddling with the camera settings. Once I had the camera focused, I stood back and waited.

Night Sky

Night Sky, Rovaniemi

It was a mostly clear night, just some thin high clouds every once in a while. I was still close enough to the city to have quite a bit of light pollution, but I could still see the stars. I watched the thin clouds come and go for about an hour, then I saw one cloud that looked a bit…odd. And was that a hint of green? I took a picture, waited for the 30 second exposure, then checked the screen. I’ll be damned – that was it.

Northern Lights, Aurora Borealis

My first glimpse of The Northern Lights!

And this is where I want to address the issue. The Northern Lights, at least what I saw, despite the photo above, were not what I would call amazing. To the naked eye, they looked like exactly what I described earlier – light bouncing off high thin clouds. Yes, some of them had the minutist green tint to them, but for the most part, they just looked like clouds. The camera, with a longer exposure, is able to bring out the colors, and they are beautiful. But standing out there in the cold at midnight, I was quite disappointed. They didn’t dance across the sky like I had heard.  I found a post by another blogger that talks about the color of the auroras, and the author does a good job at explaining the difference between what your eyes see and what the camera sees.  I just wish I had read it prior to seeing it for myself – maybe then I wouldn’t have been disappointed!!

Regardless, I am glad I got the chance to see them and photograph them. I feel like I did fairly well with focusing in the dark, and with exposure, although they may be a bit overexposed. The pictures turned out amazing, even if the real time experience wasn’t as spectacular as I had hoped.  🙂

Northern Lights, Aurora Borealis, Rovaniemi, Lapland, Finland

Northern Lights, Aurora Borealis, Rovaniemi, Lapland, Finland

Northern Lights, Aurora Borealis, Rovaniemi, Lapland, Finland

Stay tuned for Part II of our trip!

Categories: Finland | Tags: , , , , | 4 Comments

This or That: Coke or Pepsi?

You must pick one – bonus points for telling me more about your choice.

Me? I’m a Coke girl all the way. Most people I know are Coke people, and I wonder if it’s a regional thing. Where I come from, “Coke” includes all flavors and colors of the fizzy drink category, as in:

  • “Get me a Coke.”
  • “What kind?”
  • “Sprite.”  *actual conversation

Sadly, at some point in the last ten years, after moving out of Texas, I switched to “soda” as the all-encompassing category. Doesn’t make me less of a Coke person though. It’s my go-to medication for migraines and hangovers, and NO, Pepsi does NOT cut it. Not even close.

Is Monopoly money ok?

So what’s your choice: Coke or Pepsi? Leave a comment below by next Thursday and you’ll be entered to win a 5×7 print of this photo, taken on our recent trip to Lapland (where I had a hard time finding a Coke, those darn Pepsi people…):

Northern Lights

Winner of last week’s This or That is Tracie!  Tracie, email me your address and I’ll get that photo sent out to you (I also have a little something else for you!).  sara_sligar at hotmail dot com

Categories: This or That? | Tags: , , , | 11 Comments

Easter in Finland

This is what happens when you quickly, with about two hours before an Easter egg hunt, make an Easter basket and decorate some eggs. Pretty impressed with myself, actually.  I just grabbed what I had on hand in the craft pile and went crazy.

Easter eggs in basket

After four Easters here in Finland (has it really been 4?!), we finally tried mämmi, a traditional Easter dish here.  Mämmi is made with rye flour and rye malt (among other things) and allowed to sweeten naturally before being baked.  I picked some up from the grocery store and put it in a bowl with some vanilla cream.  It tastes like molasses, and after the first bite Stephen was done with it, but I finished the small bowl, and although the texture was a bit grainy, I will say that the taste grew on me with each bite.

Mammi

Easter is a great weekend to travel around here, because both Friday and Monday are a holiday, so it’s a good, long four day weekend.  The stores are also closed for most of the time – Friday, Sunday, and Monday, all day, since those are official holidays.  On Saturday, the grocery store is open, but the Post Office and Liquor Store are both closed.  It makes me wonder what the sales figures are on the Thursday beforehand, since everyone is out shopping like Southerners bracing for an inch of snow…

Oddly, we’ve never traveled for Easter Weekend, mostly because we put off planning anything until it’s too late.  Honestly, after our trip to Lapland a few weeks ago, we’re rethinking our travel plans for the year.  Traveling with a baby is hard!  I hope it was mostly because Baby J was sick, and it’s really not as difficult as it seemed.  Our takeaway lesson #1 was: get an apartment, don’t stay in a hotel.  Maybe that will help.  I should plan something relatively easy so we can find out.  Hmmm…..where to go…..

 

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The Illusion of Modesty (TMI alert)

TMI alert – Seriously, you have officially been warned.  This post deals with going to the gynecologist.  Stop reading now if you can’t handle it.

A visit to the gynecologist in Finland (and France from what I hear, and possibly the rest of Europe) is a different experience than a visit in the US.

In the US, when a woman goes to the gynecologist, she is put in a room and left alone.  There is usually a curtain she can hide behind to undress, and then she goes and sits on the exam table with a paper “shirt” that opens in the front and a paper rectangle that she drapes across her lap.  Then the doctor comes in and the exam starts – during which he/she will push the paper shirt apart and examine the breasts and push the drape up to perform a pelvic exam.

Embed from Getty Images

I’ve always been amused by this sham of modesty. Why do you have this paper draped across your lap when the doctor is just going to be all up in your business?  I’ve always assumed that it’s a disassociative thing, separating the woman (face) from the bits.  Whether it’s for the doctor’s benefit or the woman’s, I don’t know.

Here in Finland, though, there is no modesty to be had.  In my first gynecological visit here, I was surprised when the doctor said, “take off your clothes and lay down,” and then sat there all but watching me.  I stripped down in a corner, stacked my clothes, and asked if there was a drape or anything I should have.  She looked confused and gestured to the table.

Then came the funny part.  I’m laying there, naked from the waist down, legs in stirrups, and I realize the window in front of me is open.  The window with the perfect view into the office building next door.  Where anyone inside could basically see…everything, should they choose to look.  I stifled a giggle.  Things are certainly different here!

Fast forward a bit, and I’m pregnant.  I’ve been seeing the same public health nurse my entire pregnancy, and I feel quite comfortable with her.  However, due to the size of our town, they don’t offer childbirth classes in English.  My nurse said she would do an abbreviated class with me, but I decided to also contact a doula based in Helsinki who offered online childbirth classes in English.  It wasn’t that I didn’t trust my nurse, but the doula (a Finn) had lived in the US for several years, and had given birth both in Finland and the US, so she was able to understand my (US based) knowledge of the delivery process (hospital stay, etc) and describe the Finnish process to someone who wasn’t familiar with it.

Between the two women, I feel like I have a fairly good handle on things, but there have been some funny-strange moments, again related to false modesty.  In the US, everything is so very clinical – technical terms are used to describe things.  Here, whether it’s because of a language barrier or simply because of fewer puritanical hangups, the technical terms are not always used.  I’ve heard “pee hole” instead of “urethra.”  I was told when I pushed that it was like when I “poo.”  Although I get a good giggle out of these instances, I feel both more comfortable and uncomfortable at the plain speaking.

All of this is to say, I think the US system provides nothing more than an illusion of modesty.  Your doctor is going to see your parts, what purpose does the drape serve?  The doctor knows the plain words, why bother with the technical terms?  Is it for his/her comfort, or the patient’s?

Baby J update – 12 Days to go! I’m blogging every day until I give birth, so you’ll know when the baby is born!

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Hot/Cold

We had quite the warm front this weekend.  It was probably about 80F outside, but there was no breeze.  So the apartment, which of course doesn’t have air conditioning, was a sauna. (Ha, a sauna! In Finland!)

Anyway, I spent most of Thursday and Friday, and all day Saturday, trying to stay as still as possible.  Sewing made me sweat.  Washing dishes in hot water was torture.  I covered different parts of my body – shins, thighs, arms, chest, neck – with a cold washcloth, then removed it, enjoying the feel of evaporation.  We had fans going, windows open, and I was miserable.

So miserable, in fact, that I broke down Saturday night around 8pm.  “Please, Stephen, it’s so hot, make it cold!”  I was crying.  “I’m sorry I’m crying.  I know it’s stupid, I know I shouldn’t be crying over this, but I’m so bloody hot.  Please make it stop.”

Hey, I’m pregnant, I’m allowed to cry over the heat, okay?

Stephen, meanwhile, was like, “It’s not that bad.”  He blamed my overheating, as well as the tears, on the hormones.  Whatever, I don’t care.  Blame it on whatever you want, just make it cooler!!

Thank God, it got a bit cooler yesterday.  Temperatures dropped a bit, we got a breeze, and it was tolerable.  Then, last night, a COLD front blew in.  Saturday night I’m sleeping naked without even a sheet, and last night Stephen closed all the windows, cut the fan off, and covered the bed with blankets.  So, yeah, local people?  You can blame me for the cooler weather.

According to weather.com, the high on Saturday was 84F. Today it was 59.  It felt so freaking good!  We have a fan in the living room that shows the inside temperature.  On Saturday it read 29C (about 84F).  This morning it read 17C (about 62).  The temperature in our living dropped 22 degrees Fahrenheit in two days!

Obviously it’s silly to have air conditioning in Finland.  Sure, it occasionally gets warm, but it normally only lasts for a few days, then it’s tolerable again.  If you had a/c, you’d probably use it less than 10 days total for the year.  Still, I wouldn’t have minded it this weekend!  I can handle a day of it, but after the second day I actually start getting ill – headache, nausea, etc.  It happened last year in Sicily – one of our hotels had no a/c and a single window that opened into what can only be described as a heat well.  After two days, the only thing that made me feel better was getting in the car and turning on the a/c.

At one point, Stephen said, “Just think if we were in Texas this time of year.”  My response?  “We’d have the air conditioning on!”

Baby J update – 20 Days to go! I’m blogging every day until I give birth, so you’ll know when the baby is born!

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Thunderstorms

I miss a good thunderstorm.  Growing up in North Texas, thunderstorms were a regular occurrence.  They would roll across the flat plains with no obstructions, gaining strength, pummeling down rain and lighting the sky with natural fireworks.  The thunder would build slowly, or fade slowly, over a half a minute or more.  People would bring lawn chairs onto their covered porches and just watch the sky – better than TV some nights.

I lived in Charlotte, NC, for seven or eight years before moving to Finland.  Yes, Charlotte gets thunderstorms, but not like in Texas, not like the Plains states.  In Charlotte, they’re rare, and when they do happen, trees and hills obstruct the weather and the view.  Everyone I know in Charlotte who is from the Texas/Oklahoma/Arkansas area feels the same – they miss a good thunderstorm.

We had a thunderstorm here in Finland today.  Not what I would classify as a good one, but it was probably one of two or three we might get this year.  I smelled it first – that wonderful smell of rain hitting cement, one of my favorite smells in the world.  It rained steadily, if lightly, for a while, before that cool burst of air finally hit, dropping the temperature by 10 degrees (Fahrenheit) over the course of a minute.  Then that crack, that rumble, not enough to feel through your whole body, but enough to make you stop, close your eyes, and smile.

I can remember two specific thunderstorms that I would say are the best I’ve ever experienced.  The first was in Northwest Arkansas about 12 years ago.  I was out camping with friends in the mountains, and we sat on a cliff and watched the storm roll through the valley.  It was electrifying, one of those scenes from a movie where the man and woman get charged up from the storm, and in the next scene they’re inside, tearing each other’s clothes off, while lightning illuminates their skin.

The second was actually in Charlotte, about five years ago.  My friends and I were out on the lake, in a boat with a tall metal tower, around 10pm at night – about the last place you want to be during a thunderstorm.  We were racing to get off the lake, going as fast as we could, at once cowering in fear and smiling in exhilaration.  “Holy crap, this is scary, Oh My God this is awesome!”

I remember reading, years ago, about a place in Western Canada that is supposed to be phenomenal for watching storms roll in off the ocean.  I was telling Stephen about this recently, and had to look it up:  Tofino, Canada, on Vancouver Island.  I hope to visit someday…

What’s the best thunderstorm you’ve ever experienced?

Baby J Update – 27 days to go!  I’m blogging every day until I give birth, so you’ll know when the baby is born!

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Random Thoughts at 35 weeks

33 days to go!  I have a whole slew of random things to share, so this is kind of a long post.  But if you’re curious about how the Finnish maternity system might operate as opposed to the US system, continue reading.

First up – I haven’t shared with you my pregnancy card.  It’s very interesting!  You’re given this multi-fold card at the maternity clinic on your first visit, and you bring it with you each visit.  The midwife (and doctor) record all your information, vitals taken at each visit, test results, etc, on the card.  It’s neat to be able to pull it out and see how I’ve progressed each visit, and of course, it seems awfully handy to have in case of an emergency.  We’ll of course take it to the hospital with us – again, handy.  I’m sure everything is in a computer somewhere, but it’s nice to have the info at home.

Finnish Maternity Card - front

The maternity card

Finnish Maternity Card

Several folds create a booklet

Finnish Maternity Card - unfolded

Here it is folded open – I blurred it some, because I don’t know what’s delicate information and what’s not. The first panel has your name, and contact info for the clinic and hospital. Second panel has blood type, test results, sonogram results. Third and fourth panel include blood pressure, hemoglobin, weight, etc.

Finnish Maternity Card - details

A non-blurred view – first column is fundal measurement, and further across is baby’s heartbeat and activity level.

Finnish Maternity Card - growth chart

The graph of baby’s growth, or fundal measurement to week. Currently on the “high normal” line, TYVM

On to the random…

We finally got the car seat and stroller!  Unfortunately, we have not gotten the car seat base – you know, the part that keeps the car seat *in* the car?  Our car, based on the year, should have come with these Isofix brackets, which apparently keeps the seat in the car minus the seat belt.  So we bought the base, went out to the car…and we don’t have the brackets.  Went right back into the store and returned it, tried to get the other kind of base, the kind that is held in place by a seat belt – this base is on back order.  So, yeah, issues.  Apparently the Isofix was optional, as opposed to standard, in cars from 2002-2005.  We’re now looking into getting the brackets installed in the car.  Fingers crossed we get it done before, you know, we need it.

We had a quick informal prenatal class with the midwife yesterday, since they only do prenatal classes in Finnish.  She also talked some about what to expect in the hospital – again, we couldn’t do a hospital tour, I think because they only do them in Finnish, since I’ve heard of others doing it.  I feel about as ready as I can be, although I still want to study up on delivering a baby by myself in an emergency – or on the side of the road.  I’m still more freaked out about actually caring for an infant than giving birth to one, although I can feel the nerves starting.

Speaking of giving birth on the side of the road….  We did a dry run to the hospital yesterday, to make sure we know where we’re going.  It took 45 minutes at noon, following the speed limit.  It might only take 30 minutes if there’s no traffic and we trust we can get out of any speeding tickets we get on the way.  I’ve heard you can get out of the fines if you’re in labor.  Let’s hope it’s true.  Of course, if Stephen is at work when I go into labor, that will add an additional 20-25 minutes to the commute.

Additionally, apparently the taxi service here in town is well versed in pregnant women going to the hospital.  They have a minivan-type vehicle to take you there, and put you first in line for pickup.  Wonder if *they* know how to deliver babies on the side of the road?  Actually, it seems the way to go – at least then you don’t have to worry about cleaning up amniotic (and other) fluids out of your own car!  😉

I remain healthy, everything is going well with the pregnancy. My weight gain has gone down since my last appointment, so that’s good.  Haven’t *lost* weight, just haven’t gained as much week over week.  Probably because my appetite has been nonexistent over the last few weeks.  I’m hungry in the morning, and I have my standard apple and piece of toast with peanut butter.  Then through the day I snack on some prunes and dates (prunes for obvious reasons, dates because of this study).  And getting through those are tough, because I’m really not hungry.  And lunch?  I force myself to eat a little something because I know I need to, but I don’t enjoy it.  Dinner is a bit better – probably because I didn’t have much of a lunch…

I was on the fence about buying a nursing pillow, and deciding which one to buy if I got one.  Like with everything else, everyone has their favorites.  Unfortunately, it’s not like we can run out to Target real quick and get one (or a different brand) if we decide we want it – we actually have to plan in advance.  A couple of weeks ago we went to a baby store in The Big City and I was looking at the Boppy again.  It was 69 euros (compared to about $30 in the US) and I just couldn’t justify it.  The saleswoman pointed me to the other brand they carried, the Doomoo, and they had both a Boppy sized pillow and a slightly larger one that could be used as a nursing pillow and a sleeping pillow for me, now.  It’s the same shape as a Boppy, just longer, and filled with micro-beads, so it’s a little more malleable.   Stephen made the executive decision that I would get the larger pillow.  That afternoon, when I laid down and curled up with it on the bed to rest, I wondered why the hell I had resisted getting a sleeping pillow for so long.  I was in L-O-V-E.

I found some things out during the prenatal class that I thought I’d share, for those in the US who find it interesting:

  • We will likely have three midwives in the room for delivery, but we won’t see a doctor unless I get an epidural or there are complications.
  • All midwives in Finland are women – there are no male midwives.  I don’t know if that’s a law, or if men are simply not interested in becoming midwives.
  • We have it in our birth plan that we don’t want forceps used – Stephen has a deviated septum from forceps being used on him.  Our midwife said they very rarely use forceps here – there are about 3 uses per year, she said.  3!
  • The cost for a natural birth is 2250€.  This includes everything, including epidurals, and this is the price for paying out of pocket, sans insurance.  It’s actually gone up quite a bit in the last year – she said last year it was about 1400€!  A c-section costs 5840€.
  • Assuming everything goes okay, and I don’t have any complications, I will likely stay in the hospital 3-4 days, at a cost of 39€ a day.

Regarding doctors and midwives….  So the town has a maternity clinic that all pregnant women use.  There’s only the one in town, as far as I know, and luckily it’s about a five minute walk from our apartment.  As far as I can tell, there are two prenatal midwives, but there are also several other women in the office – I’m not sure of their function, but it seems some of them may only be there to do things like take blood and check your blood pressure – the stuff a nurse would do in the US.  There are also a couple of doctors – I’ve seen two – who apparently are only there to perform sonograms (not some lowly tech!) and gynecological exams.  So over the course of my pregnancy so far, I’ve seen the doctor three times – each time for a sonogram.  And I will be seeing one next week for a pelvic.  Other than that, I only see the midwife.  Now, I’m not sure how “midwife” here equates to “midwife” in the US, so when I use the term “midwife” it may not be what you’re thinking of.  As far as I can tell (with my very minimal knowledge of the UK system), midwives here are similar to midwives in the UK.  You don’t have an OBGYN, you have a midwife.

Oh, and because this is Finland, there is no waiting in the doctor’s office for an hour.  Your appointment is at 9:30, you will see the midwife at 9:30.  Finns are *very* punctual.  😀

Well, that’s about it for now, although it’s certainly plenty.  Happy Tuesday!

 

Categories: Here Comes Baby | Tags: , , , , , | 7 Comments

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